Sanjoy Ganguly was active in party politics as a student. Disillusioned by its centralist tendencies, he left the party to search for a...
Seeding Democracy: Jana Sankriti's Forum Theatre Movement
"It is forbidden to walk on the grass. It is not forbidden to fly over the grass."
~ Augusto Boal
Can theatre help us free ourselves from oppression - that which we experience as well as that which we inflict on others? In other words, can theatre free us?
In the history of theatre, many thinking practitioners have critiqued ongoing practice and developed new ways of doing theatre, so that theatre may be an agent of public discourse and social change. Bertolt Brecht eschewed what he called the "bourgeois theatre" of catharsis and developed the epic theatre movement. Badal Sircar broke with the proscenium stage that separated artists from audiences and developed the concept of the Third Theatre. Augusto Boal went a step further and developed Forum Theatre, where the audiences were no longer allowed to be passive spectators, but asked to be "spect-actors", actively participating in a public theatre discourse on prevalent social oppressions.
We are delighted to invite Sanjoy Ganguly - founder member and director of Jana Sanskriti - to Mumbai Local, to talk to us about his work with Jana Sanskriti, a forum theatre group from the villages of Bengal which has grown into an all-India presence, and is seen as a key player in the global forum theatre movement. Sanjoy-da will share with us his journey with forum theatre, beginning from learning from Boal to developing a forum theatre aesthetic influenced by the local performance cultures of Bengal. We will get to hear about a fascinating movement which has provoked introspection, built criticality, and stimulated transformation in communities across India - village communities, women survivors of violence, perpetrators of violence in riots, and more.
Look forward to an eye-opening evening, where we will get to see how a powerful transformative theatre movement has arisen out of the belief that there is "perfection latent within every human being - waiting to be discovered and manifested". For "what is this perfection but the richest resource of human society?"
We hope to see you at this first Mumbai Local of 2018. And as always, a request - please send this email on to at least 5 of your friends who would be interested. Help us spread the inspiration!
@ MCubed Library, Bandra (W) - 1st Sat, 5 pm
@ Dr Bhau Daji Lad Museum, Byculla (E) - 2nd Sun, 5 pm
@ Kitab Khana, Fort - 3rd Fri, 5:30 pm
Sanjoy Ganguly was active in party politics as a student. Disillusioned by its centralist tendencies, he left the party to search for a political culture of dialogue and democracy. He began working in the theatre in rural Bengal in the early 1980s. His encounter several years later with Augusto Boal and the Theatre of the Oppressed, coupled with his own passionate commitment to the creation of a more just and equal society, led him to found Jana Sanskriti, an independent organisation committed to the use of theatre to conscientise and empower the communities it serves. With more than thirty active theatre groups associated with the group, Jana Sanskriti is now the largest organisation of its kind in India.